Fire-hit Hastings school ‘misled parents’

Ore Village Primary Academy and Nursery. SUS-160323-115701001
Ore Village Primary Academy and Nursery. SUS-160323-115701001

An angry mum is removing her two children from a Hastings primary school claiming staff ‘misled’ parents about the cause of a recent fire.

Mel Sorrell took the decision to pull her six and nine-year-old from Ore Village Primary Academy following the blaze which broke out in the cloakroom of the Rye Road school on March 16.

She says she and other parents were told repeatedly by staff and head teacher Ian McCrae that an electrical fault had caused the fire, with a similar explanation given to pupils in an assembly.

So it was a shock to Mel when she read on the Observer website that an 11-year-old boy had been arrested by Sussex Police on suspicion of arson with intent and released on bail.

Mel said: “Originally they were telling us it was a small electrical fire and denied all knowledge of it being arson.

“When we found out it was arson from the press reports, we contacted them and the school said they knew nothing about an arson report and still maintained it was electrical.”

Mel said Mr McCrae then contacted her on Tuesday (March 22) and denied saying it was an electrical fire.

Mel said: “I was told it on the phone, my partner was told it on the phone, other parents were told it on the phone. The children have been told by the teachers not to talk about it and that it is an electrical fire.

“It is really confusing.”

She added: “It’s left such a nasty taste in my mouth, I now think ‘what are you prepared to mislead me about?’.”

Another mum told the Observer police escorted the boy from the premises in view of children and parents.

She said: “Nothing makes sense.

“We keep hearing contradictions in every which direction.”

Matt Batchelor, senior director of education at The Kemnal Academies Trust, which runs Ore Village Primary, said: “We cannot comment on individual conversations.

“However, the school is committed to open communication with its pupils and their families.

“We therefore issued communications to families of pupils on the day of the fire and the subsequent Friday with updates on our understanding of the cause of the fire which had been relayed by the police.

“Given that the police investigation is on-going we cannot comment further.”

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